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Skull Base. 2001 Aug;11(3):189-97.

Fully endoscopic vascular decompression of the facial nerve for hemifacial spasm.


Hemifacial spasm is an uncommon disorder manifesting as a unilateral, involuntary, sporadic contraction of the musculature innervated by the seventh cranial nerve. Although debated, the etiology of hemifacial spasm is generally accepted as compression of the facial nerve by vessels of the posterior circulation. Early surgical techniques were ineffective and fraught with morbidity. Over the past 25 years microvascular decompression surgery has allowed the safe and effective treatment of hemifacial spasm. Recent reports combining microsurgical and endoscopic techniques have documented the advantages of the endoscope in exposing the anatomy of this region. Enhanced visualization allows a less traumatic dissection and increases the surgeon's ability to locate nerve-vessel conflicts often difficult to identify through the limited view of the microscope. This article reviews the history of hemifacial spasm and describes the first three cases of fully endoscopic vascular decompression for hemifacial spasm, emphasizing the advantages of this novel surgical approach.

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